Over the weekend, someone asked me (in all seriousness) why I wanted to move to the US with Donald Trump as President. As I’ve done in the past I shot back some smart alec response, but the question stuck in my head over the next couple of days.
I mean, why am I thinking of moving to the US while it’s the butt of the rest of the world’s jokes?
Back before the May announcement, I read a fair bit about the DV Lottery entries being a good litmus test of the world’s true opinion of the Trump presidency. If numbers were down for the 2018 draw surely that means the average citizen of the world no longer saw America as the “Land of Opportunity”.
Many of the comments I read were from people with strong anti-Trump opinions, and they were steadfast in their belief that the numbers would show the world turning its back on the US.
But the numbers proved the nay-sayers wrong. In fact, in this year’s draw, more people than ever entered the lottery – over 15 million in fact. Those pontificating on the death of the “American Dream” disappeared immediately.
Now I’m not at all suggesting that Trump was the reason for the spike in numbers. War, conflict, drought, famine, political uncertainty and a rise in unscrupulous agents would all have a greater effect on numbers of lottery entries than the person sleeping at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the next four years.
So, back to my original question. Why would I want to move to the US when Trump is in the White House? I live in a wealthy country, with a good political system and (some would correctly argue) a much better social security situation.
Well the answer isn’t as easy as it would seem. I guess the obvious response is that getting a Green Card is intention of a permanent move – and we can be guaranteed that the President will change.
In my life, I’ve seen eight Presidents come and go. There’ll be plenty more over the next few decades.
One of the great certainties of US politics is that no one President can hold the office for more than eight years (much less in some instances). So not moving because I don’t agree with the politics of the current Commander-in-Chief seems ridiculous.
And speaking of US politics, I think therein lies another reason a move to the US is so appealing to me. America’s embrace of politics is something tragically missing in Australia.
Now, I’m not talking about the star and stripes pageantry of the US primaries, conventions and electioneering. In fact, I’ve been over in the US for two of the key political moments of the last few years (the 2016 primary season and the Comey testimony) and I was amazed at the lack of attention paid to them by the “man in the bar”.
What I mean is the trust in their political system, their understanding of their constitution and their commitment to the ethos of the republic – no matter what.
While the US Constitution, in its original form, was a deeply flawed document it’s clear the founding fathers had a grand idea and noble intention. But what makes the American system even more remarkable is the people view the constitution as a living document – on one hand it is sacrosanct, an embodiment of grand ideals laid forth by the men charged with building a new democracy; on the other it can be changed to reflect the evolving society.
The right to free speech, the right to religious freedom and (sadly) the right to bear arms are all as important to what makes America truly American as the original 4,543 words signed in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. That’s really appeals to me – coming from a country so adverse to change.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The other reason is what options a move can offer Nicole and I. It’s true the USA is the land of opportunity and coming from a country with a miniscule population and finite prospects, the wide-open plains of the United States is a land of wonder, excitement and unyielding potential. Why wouldn’t I want that?
The truth is, there are many reasons while the move seems like a good idea to me. And the reality is they all play a part in my decision. But the truth is they are only a small part of the whole. My generation, thanks to television and movies, grew up as American as Australian. I’ve always felt as much connected to America as I do to my homeland.
Much of my earliest memories revolve around an American product, movie or TV show. It might be a sad reality, but why wouldn’t I want to follow through on what was ingrained in me from a very young age – that America is where it’s happening.
I guess that’s why I’m willing to go through a few years of Trump’s America – because after that it’ll be all smooth sailing… of couse!